When not studying, fourth-year sociology major Shawna Sein can be found in her room curled up watching Netflix or at the Student Recreation Center releasing pent-up exam stress by boxing. At the moment, she is currently watching “Cobra Kai” and describes it as “action-packed and exhilarating.”
Sein is set to graduate in June of 2021 and feels mixed emotions. She claims that she feels happiness because “after four years of hard work there is finally a finish line in sight.” Coupled with being a first generation student, being able to graduate is a great accomplishment for her. She feels sadness because of her deep connection with UCR. “Over the course of the past four years I’ve made so many good friends and great memories,” she stated. “As close as we all are, it’s gonna be so much harder to stay in touch once we graduate and go on with our lives.”
Sein lived in Aberdeen-Inverness, known as AI, her first year and now looks back at her favorite memories. Specifically, she recalls the late nights where her hallmates and resident advisor would sit and have fun in the hall or her makeshift apple bowling tournaments down the hall. To Sein, UCR has felt like home since the first moment she stepped on campus.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the campus closure, Sein’s favorite spot on campus was the HUB. She claims that after a long day of classes, she would go to the HUB and oftentimes run into friends. “We would sit down, grab food, chill and hang out. That’s one thing I love and miss about campus,” she explained. Sein also misses the famous blue tent burritos that would be sold by student organizations as a way to fundraise.
Another good memory of Sein’s is taking a sociology course with Dr. Firat during her second year at the University Village. “It’s the professor that makes the class interesting,” she stated. Sein looks forward to a hybrid graduation but still misses campus and the in-person connection. “I miss being able to run into my professors at Coffee Bean because those are experiences you can’t get anywhere else.”
Sein is just one of many students who sacrificed a year at UCR and traded it in for a year of Zoom University. Graduating students this year are getting a semblance of a normal graduation, but as a collective, the school has lost out on a year of making friends and important connections with professors. The college experience was different from its usual hustle and bustle, but Sein’s memories showcase how despite the setbacks and the losses that students have had to struggle through in the past year, looking back at our time in the university is filled with heartfelt memories and fond moments.